Welcome to my blog

I hope you enjoy reading my posts, and please leave me a comment. I always enjoy reading them, and will try to visit you in return.

You are welcome to copy any of my designs, as long as you do not take credit for them yourself. I am very happy for you to sell them. If I have used anyone else's design, I always try to give credit where it is due. If I have missed anything, please let me know and I will put things right.

This is intended to be mainly about my crafting stories, as a personal record of what I do. However, I interpret crafting quite widely, not just paper crafting but other things too. I have a butterfly mind and like to change from one thing to another depending on what I feel like on a given day - knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, cards, baking and several others.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Tips collected from others, and some from me

I am convinced that there are little spy cameras all over our house, 'cos every time I get what I think is a good idea, I see it instantly somewhere else.  It all goes to prove that there is nothing really new anywhere, just adjustments of old ideas.

I have been having problems recently with blades, cutting types of all kinds - craft knives, rotary cutters, die cutters - you name it and it needed help.  I have an excellent scissor sharpener (Fiskars) which deals with those instantly and returns all scissors to scalpel sharpness (not sure about curved parchment scissors though).  My Westcott rotary cutter was beginning to chew paper rather than cut it, then I looked at the channel the blade runs through - totally choked with glue and other gunk.  The end of the tweezers soon dug that out, but the cutting did not really improve until I found a tip on several other web sites about kitchen foil.  It needs to be the strong turkey type foil.  Run your blade through that a few times and you do not need to hunt out an expensive replacement.  The same type of foil works just as well for that apparently blunt blade on your Silhouette / Craft Robo etc.  Just lay a sheet of the foil on your carrier sheet and set your machine to cut several straight lines and that really helps.  I am told that it also brightens up your punches, although I have not personally tried it, and Shaz Silverwolf reminded me today that punching through wax paper helps them to run more smoothly (Thanks, Shaz).

If you fancy making use of your old photos and transferring them to your cards or scrapbooks, try Barbara Gray's tip, get some nail varnish remover (from Sainsbury's - apparently that works where others may not), a make up sponge.  Do a copy (black and white) using your inkjet printer / scanner (you may need to flip it horizontally to get the final image the correct way round), lay that image on your desired media face down, dampen with nail varnish remover on the make up sponge, rub over with the back of a spoon, carefully lift the paper to see if the image has taken.  If not continue rubbing until it does, then remove the paper from the top and allow to dry.  Again, I have not yet tried this, but it is next on my list, although I did something similar as a centrepiece for an anniversary cross stitch.

Don't splash out loads of money buying new sticky carrier mats for your die cutter, just give it a quick blast with something like the repositional Stick and Spray from Crafters Companion, or some other repositional glue.

After you have run something through your Xyron, just give it a quick rub, and run your nail round the edge to break the glue away, and cut down the amount of unwanted glue from the edge.

If you do get glue in the wrong place and cannot remove it withour damage, just sprinkle a tiny amount of baby powder over it and shake off the excess before rubbing it gently.  Baby powder also helps to destick your hands while you are in the middle of a job.

Other things to keep close are kitchen paper, baby wipes and Crafters Companion Stick away for cleaning up all that adhesive that gets everywhere you don't want it, tumble drier sheets (the dry ones) for lubricating parchment before embossing.

If I think of anything else I have found out, I will post it here.  Now I am off to try out my Silhouette again now it is working properly, and make some Christmas cards.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Christmas is coming!

This is another card using MSC Craft e'Christmas, the Star of Wonder disc.  The base card is printed with one of the backing sheets.  Then the topper was printed several times to get the layers I needed to give depth, the main one mounted onto deep blue mirri card, then the tree mounted off centre as it is on the original topper.  The stripes on the right were also cut from the topper and then mounted on top of the stripes on the original topper.  The sentiment was also mounted on the blue mirri card and finished off with three gems.  I also put gems on the centres of the stars, just for a bit more glitz. The background of the topper looks shiny.  It isn't but just beautifully created to show light and shade.  This card was done for the launch of the set of discs, but as we were on holiday in a gloriously sunny Cornwall that week, I have no idea if it was ever shown.  I am afraid I only saw whatever was on while I had breakfast.  There are times when holidays beat crafting hands down.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Buying from EBay - a warning!

I have bought a lot of things from sellers on EBay and have had no complaints about them.  I have had good service and my only complaint was swiftly and efficiently dealt with by the seller.  I always check the price of any item I am buying, looking elsewhere on the web.  Then I decide what is my very top bid, having also checked and factored in the cost of postage and packing (beware of things from foreign climes - the postage can be far more than the item and may also incure import duty, which is astronomical).  I only ever put in one bid.  If I do not get it, then it was not meant for me.  Do not get caught up in a bidding war.

I have been watching a number of things recently, and been ready to put in a bid.  One was Crafters Companion Ultimate Pro - a great piece of kit.  It was second hand but it went for £37 with £5 postage and packing.  Brand new from Crafters Companion (with good backup and help line) and other EBay sellers, it costs £39.95 with FREE postage and packing.  Which would you rather have?  No contest!!

My tip is always factor in to your costs the P&P.  Even buying out on the net, you can usually get through to the point of getting the full price including P&P without committing yourself to buy.  P&P varies wildly.

Cost of going to shows - is it worth it now?

I had to share the glorious autumn colour with everyone.  What a change today - very few leaves have survived the onslaught of the wind and rain of the last 24 hours.  Winter is definitely pushing in.

Going back to the point of this post, how many of you out there think that the cost of going to shows is becoming prohibitive now?  At the NEC, the cost of parking your car has risen 25% in the past 3 years, from £6 to £8, and the cost of a senior citizen ticket has also shot up.  I had thought of going this year, but other committments stopped me from going on Thursday or Friday.  I spoke to others who had been, and not been very impressed with the show, complaining that all the stalls were much the same, apart from the odd one or two with good demonstrators.  After a lot of thought overnight, I decided, with a little encouragement from my husband, that I wasn't going.  Instead, I used the money I would have spent on car park, petrol and entry (and the allowance I would have spent in the show) to buy more of the goodies I really wanted.

With all the craft programmes on TV and the ease of shopping online (checking the prices from a comfortable chair with a hot coffee and cake beside me) is it now worth while going to the shows.  For me, it is not worth while.  What does anyone else think?

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Taste of the Orient

The images on this were taken from Robert Addams Goes East CD ROM.  The card was black textured card from the Papermill range.  I decoupaged the image - cutting out the orchids was a real pain, but well worth the effort in the end.  Unfortunately, I do not have Japanese characters among my fonts, so I settled for doing the sentiment in a font that could be ready by the recipient, printing it on vellum, and immediately embossing it with silver powder.  This is one of the techniques I learned from Shaz at Silverwolf Cards.  On this occasion, I put the sentiment into a text box in WordPerfect (my word processor of choice, but you could do it in Word or Works) and put a border round it, embossing that at the same time.  You do need to be very organised to do this and have your powder ready to sprinkle the instant the printer allows you to grab the paper.  You will also need to experiment a little with your own printer's settings to ge the right level of ink.  I find that if you choose a high quality print, it is too slow going through the printer and has already dried too much to take the embossing powder, so on my printer I have settled for a simple Text print.  You can do more than one sentiment at a time, but try to get them in a line at the bottom of the page, and don't go for more than one row at a time, otherwise you may find you cannot get the powder to stick.  You may wonder why I say the bottom and not the top of the page.  That is because my one printer will not recognise vellum / parchment and I need to attach a piece of ordinary copy paper to the back with repositional glue and put them through together. and I just find it easier to print from the bottom and cut off the bottom of the paper.  You do have to remember when you do the next one that your paper is now not A4 and move your sentiments up a little.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Christmas is coming fast!

This one is so simple and cheap.  All you need is a pre-folded white DL card, an offcut of blue card (you can use any colour you choose)some holographic wrapping paper, three gems and a peel off.  I just cut three squares from the wrapping paper, stuck them down the centre of the offcut card, mounted that in the centre of the card, put a gem into the centre of each square of wrapping paper, and a peel off Merry Christmas to finish off.  The result you get will vary with the design of the wrapping paper, but it is simple and quick to do.